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A public/private initiative
Sappy Moffitt Field Foundation
South Bend Venues Parks & Arts
The Field

Foundry Field will provide a quality public-access baseball field for children and adults in South Bend’s urban core. When completed, it will be a truly remarkable public space that adds vitality to the Southeast neighborhood and celebrates the baseball stories of our city’s marginalized communities.

PHASE ONE

a place for play

high-quality baseball field

This field will be publicly accessible and reservable through South Bend Venues Parks & Arts, with priority given to our local program partners like the Boys and Girls Club and South Bend schools.

  • Full-size baseball diamond with grass infield and dirt basepaths

  • Net and steel pole backstop system

  • Irrigation system

  • Retaining Wall Prep

  • Living hedge outfield fence 

  • Fencing

$145k

CAMPAIGN COMPLETED | Fall 2022
Construction begins | June 2023
Play begins | May 2024

PHASE TWO

a place for story

historical research and public art

Baseball stories of the past that highlight underrepresented teams or players will connect the community to our past and to nationally-known mural artists.

  • 6-public murals 

  • Artist residency program 

  • Community art workshops

  • Public art wall 

  • Community-based historical research

  • Online repository of historical research

  • Historical markers 

$180k
Contribute

Funding underway
Project begins | May 2023
Project completion | Summer 2025

PHASE THREE

a place for community

enhanced community space

This phase will bring community-focused structures surrounding the field to expand the community experience and increase community usage of the park.

  • Covered vintage grandstand 

  • Covered dugouts

  • Bullpen mounds 

  • Scorebooth with PA system

  • Expanded foul-line fencing 

  • Public pavilion

  • Field lighting

  • Additional landscaping

$500k
Contribute

Funding underway
Project begins | TBD

foundry field at southeast neighborhood park | plan
foundry field at southeast neighborhood park | renderings
The Stories

Home of the Foundry Giants

Recovering a rich history

In the 1920s, the Studebaker industrial baseball league was at the top of the South Bend sports page, and the Foundry Giants were often at the top of the standings. The predominantly black team hailed from the Studebaker foundry and included several players who would play in the Negro Leagues. Much of the history of the Foundry Giants has been lost—although cryptic box scores remain scattered throughout the local newspaper archives.

Foundry Field is dedicated to recovering that history and honoring the Foundry Giants alongside other underrepresented baseball teams or players from South Bend’s history.

Through our collaboration with the community, our local partners, and historical researchers, we hope to gain a clearer picture of these men and women—helping to preserve their stories of courage, resilience, and determination as they navigated issues of inequality, accessibility, and representation in their time.

Our aim is to inspire the next generation to continue the fight for greater equality, access, and representation for all South Bend residents.

historical research

Foundry Field will help recover the stories of South Bend's baseball past—with a focus on telling the stories of the underrepresented. Through collaboration with the University of Notre Dame, Hesburgh Library, The Civil Rights Heritage Center, and South Bend Community Schools this portion of the Foundry Field project hopes to bring to light untold stories.

public art

Through an artist residency program, Foundry Field hopes to bring in nationally-recognized mural artists that are representative of the stories being depicted through race, ethnicity, or gender. These artists will work with the community to design and produce a series of murals that will create visible, enduring public art for the Southeast neighborhood.

arts education

Visiting and local artists will be able to utilize the public art wall for workshops, classes, and revolving exhibitions. Through the artist residency program, youth from organizations such as the Boys & Girls Club and Riley High School can learn about art and design methods, processes, and careers with hands on experiences that result in publicly visible art.

foundry field at southeast neighborhood park | mural plan
history in the outfield

A series of six murals tell the story of South Bend's underrepresented baseball teams and individuals. The wall spans left and most of centerfield at Foundry Field—ending at the High Street underpass.

a two-year project

Six 1-week artist residencies over the span of two years brings prolonged awareness to issues of equality and representation and connect South Bend youth with nationally-recognized minority artists and designers.

a gateway to understanding

The murals will be accompanied with historical markers and an online repository that will tell the story of each depicted team/individual and the context in which they played.

the foundry giants mural

The Foundry Giants mural depicts a sliding Alonzo Poindexter Sr., who played for the Foundry Giants and became one of South Bend’s first Black Sheriff’s Deputies. In addition, John “Big Pitch” Williams is seen winding up. Williams would go on to play five seasons in the Negro Leagues for the Dayton Marcos and St. Louis Stars—winning two Negro National League Pennants.  The Foundry Giants Mural was funded through the support of the Center for Social Concerns at the University of Notre Dame.

thomas "detour" evans

In May of 2023, we welcomed Thomas “Detour” Evans to South Bend and Foundry Field. Detour is an artist, innovator, and educator. He spent time with youth from the Boys and Girls Club and Riley High School sharing about his work and career.  His book, Be the Artist helps young artists navigate the art world and establish a sustainable art career. Discover more of his work: @detour303

upcoming murals
uncle bill's softball team | ashley nora

We are thrilled to welcome artist Ashley Nora to Foundry Field this April. Nora will be depicting Uncle Bill’s Softball Team, an all-Black women’s team that played in the 1940s. The team featured Renelda Robinson, a long-time South Bend community leader and advocate.

seabe gavin sr. | waleed johnson

This summer, Detroit artist Waleed Johnson will visit Foundry Field to paint a mural of Seabe Gavin, Sr.. Gavin was a legendary athlete at South Bend Central High that gave up his athletic career to serve his country and family. After WWII, Gavin began working in the Studebaker foundry and joined a later iteration of the Foundry Giants.

faqs

The vision for Foundry Field has evolved over the last three years. We've tried to work alongside the neighborhood, larger community, and our partner organizations to envision exactly what the field could become and we continue to invite input from those invested in our community. We hope these FAQs might answer some of your questions.

Won't this threaten the existing parks and leagues?

We believe Foundry Field will actually support the local leagues and fields by creating greater interest and investment in baseball. We do not plan to have programming that would conflict with existing leagues. In fact, we hope to build partnerships with local leagues to connect them to more players, resources, and the history of baseball in South Bend.

Who will use the field?

The field will be used by the Boys & Girls Club to introduce youth to the game of baseball, the South Bend Community Schools to support baseball at the middle school level, the Sappy Moffitt Baseball league for adult community baseball, and other partners that might see an opportunity for ongoing community use. When not reserved, the field will be accessible to the public.

Can I access the Field?

The Field will be publicly accessible with no locked gates. The public will also be able to reserve the field through South Bend Venues Parks and Arts—with first access given to the Boys & Girls Club, South Bend Schools, and the Sappy Moffitt Field Foundation.

Who will maintain the field?

The field will be a public park, maintained by the South Bend Venues Parks and Arts. In addition, the Sappy Moffitt Field Foundation is committed to providing supplemental field care to help keep Foundry Field in top shape for the community.

What teams or players will be depicted on the wall?

Right now we know the field will center on the Foundry Giants, but have been actively discovering and researching additional histories like Uncle Bill’s All-Colored Girls Softball team, a Potawatomi baseball team, and Charles Thomas—who inspired the integration of professional baseball here in South Bend. As we discover these stories we will select some to be represented on murals others will be included through historical markers or online histories.

How do I learn more about the Foundry Giants?

We are actively researching the Foundry Giants through our research partners and hope to share their stories and the stories of other teams, as we gather them.

increasing interest in baseball

We hope Foundry Field will foster more interest in baseball through programming, history, art, and public access.

increasing access to baseball

Through our partnership with the Boys & Girls Club and South Bend Community Schools, we believe Foundry Field will introduce baseball to more youth and keep them playing longer.

increasing support for baseball

We hope to support existing community baseball leagues by directing interested youth to their local league and partnering to raise visibility and access to baseball—working together to develop the next generation of citizens and leaders.

The Partnership

Partnering for a more connected and inclusive community

a broad community partnership

Foundry Field was first envisioned by the Sappy Moffitt Field Foundation. We are a 501c3 non-profit organization that seeks to build a high-quality baseball field at Southeast Park to aid the revitalization of the Southeast Neighborhood, preserve and promote the history of baseball in South Bend, and serve the youth of neighborhood communities by making the facility available to them.

Venues Parks & Arts inspires a more livable South Bend for all, connecting us to emotionally engaging experiences and to one another. VPA is a nationally accredited parks and recreation agency with the Commission for Accreditation of Parks and Recreation Agencies, member of the International Association of Venue Managers, and a proud finalist for the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA)’s 2021 National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management.

programming partners
South Bend Community School Corporation
Boys & Girls Club of St. Joseph County
research and planning partners
Center for Social Concerns
Southeast Organized Area Residents
University of Notre Dame
Civil Rights Heritage Center
The History Museum
Funding Partners
Center for Social Concerns
Community Foundation of St. Joseph County
Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority
First Source Bank
contributors
Buccellato design & architecture
Clinton Carlson Design
Support

We invite you to be a part of this exciting campaign now by making a charitable gift. Your generosity will help to create an exceptional space that will both celebrate and revitalize the community! Thank you also for helping to spread the word on social media!

support foundry field
Donate

If you prefer to give offline by cash or check please mail or drop donations to:

Sappy Moffitt Field Foundation
c/o Sean Kennedy
711 E. Colfax Ave.
South Bend, IN 46617.

The Sappy Moffitt Field Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization and donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.

We currently have partnership opportunities for Phases 2 and 3 of Foundry Field. Consider contributing to one of these initiatives:

BULLPEN MOUNDS

$6,000

Help us install bullpen mounds.

COVERED DUGOUTS

$12,000

Help us build a covered dugout for Foundry Field.

COVERED STAGE

$60,000

Help us build a covered stage for live music.

COVERED VINTAGE GRANDSTAND

$180,000

Help us build a covered vintage grandstand for community gatherings.

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Photos courtesy of the Studebaker National Museum and Thomas "Detour" Evans.

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Join Us!

Help us build Foundry Field for the city of South Bend!

Foundry Field

Southeast Neighborhood Park
631 Wenger St
South Bend, IN

E: sappymoffittbaseball (at) gmail.com